What is the secret to finding volunteers with the means to contribute millions?
Stories Behind the Stars relies on contributions to succeed.
These contributions overwhelmingly are not gifts of money, but gifts of time and talents.
Stories Behind the Stars volunteers have so far written about 39,000 stories of the fallen, including 18,000 in the last 12 months. On average it takes 2-3 hours or more to research and write a story, so volunteers have contributed around 60,000 hours. For 2023, the nonprofit coalition Independent Sector values the time of volunteers at $31.80 per hour.
Our volunteers have therefore provided $3.5 million of volunteer time.
Thanks a million times three!
We are also thankful for dollar donations that help us with hard costs. Earlier this year, donations helped us cover the cost of our VPN and website. Donations are not used for salaries.
For Giving Tuesday, we are raising funds to cover the cost of Network For Good, our customer relationship management (CRM) communication platform. It is used to (1) keep track of our volunteers in a database, (2) send out group emails, and (3) collect donations that qualify for a tax deduction. The annual cost of $3,000 is due next week. That comes down to less than $10 a day and will keep our communication channel open for the next year.
How many stories can we add in the next 12 months? 25,000? 50,000? More?
We know that not everyone who follows this project on Facebook and elsewhere is currently writing stories, but may still want to help support this project in other ways. Follow this link to make a tax deductible donation.
Here are some reasons why past donors have made financial donations to Stories Behind the Stars.
"Both of my parents and three uncles were WW2 veterans, all of whom fortunately survived the war." - Stuart McClung, Maryland
"My husband and I were in Normandy last week and I was able to see some of the D-Day beaches as well as visit some other sites and museums. When we went to the Normandy American Cemetery I found myself shocked to see the number of graves in person, and I was overcome with emotion as I wandered through. My husband and I came away with swollen red eyes and a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices and service of those who fought for the freedoms that we are still blessed with.
"It would have been amazing to have been able to find out stories and information about everyone of the soldiers buried there. I’m excited for there to be a way for that in the future. Bless you for all the work you do." - Heidi Bay, Oregon
To read stories of why our volunteers contribute time to this project see here.
I would like to conclude by thanking everyone for doing your part to help remember each and everyone of the US World War II fallen.
PS, See here for a disclosure of past fundraising and spending.